Even with the time constraints, I enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of Garden In!, and the “Gotta Plant them All” goal of getting all the seeds. Unfortunately, I would be giving the real-time growing a pass if it were on mobile versus my PC, where it’s more of a detriment. I want to spend a few hours playing a game on my PC, not a few minutes. When I boot up a game through Steam, I want to sit down and be engrossed. Relaxing or not, I’ve dedicated time to play, so let’s play; Garden In! doesn’t do that for me. With all that said, I absolutely do recommend giving this one a go if you want something calm and relaxing to entertain your fingers and stimulate the mind for a few minutes.
I sincerely enjoyed my time with Autonauts and could see anyone with no programming knowledge to that of a pro programmer having a good time here. With the added combat, that adds a whole new group of people who could potentially enjoy this series now as well! There is a little bit of a learning curve, but it’s fun to learn. Plus, resource management is still a hoot to manage. Building up your little outpost and getting the automation going is as enjoyable as it was in its first installment, and the added battles against the Piratebots are neat. Autonauts vs. Piratebots is a title that will readily eat at your brain when you’re not playing. You’ll sit there and start thinking of everything you could possibly do to make your assembly line more efficient or how to program your bots in ways to maximize output, and I think that’s a sign of a well-made automation game.
Overall, Lego Bricktales is one of the closest LEGO building experiences I’ve come across, with something like LEGO Worlds in that same camp. With the added collectibles to find and the presented story, it gives this game some fun bits to do outside of the actual building. The game could be fun for a younger audience, but with the lack of voice acting and the physics puzzle possibly being a little too advanced, this is more of an older LEGO enthusiast’s adventure. Regardless it’s still a fun time to be had.
Overall, The Cowabunga Collection is a near-perfect representation of what a fan wants out of the package. 13 great games, an incredible amount of bonus content, and adding optional enhancements make The Cowabunga Collection well worth the $39.99 asking price.
Other than a few hiccups I’ve encountered, I am loving my time in the game. Even if the car physics aren’t the best, they are nowhere near unmanageable. Flying around the world in helicopters, drifting cars, and weaving in between traffic is just as satisfying as ever. Gunplay is tight, and if you’re the type to pull the aim trigger and have it lock on, you’re going to love the way this plays too. The writing is corny, but in the right kind of corny, I can respect. Doing all there is to do in Santo Ileso will keep me hopping back into this world more and more. Now excuse me as I wrap this big ass gold chain around my neck and get back to my criminal empire. The Saints are back, baby.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge tickled all my nostalgia keys, and it harkened back to the feeling I got when playing with my turtle action figures in my younger days. Days I would hop between battling toys to turning on my NES to play the TMNT Arcade game with my brother. Even with the license’s low points over the years, Shredder’s Revenge feels like a proper revitalization of a series I’ve grown up loving. So to answer my early question, yes, a modernized 2D brawler in the classic TMNT arcade style can revitalize these four heroes; I just love being a turtle!
Salt and Sacrifice is a worthwhile sequel to Salt and Sanctuary. Where it does more of the same, it does so where it needs to and where it freshens things up, like the map change, it does it well. I still wish I had access to an inworld map, though. If you’re looking for a new souls-like to get into after something like an Elden Ring, I can’t see you going wrong with this one.
Rogue Legacy 2 has entangled me in its grind. It has cracked that code in me where others often get it wrong. Thanks to the randomness of the heroes, the ability to carry over progression, and the fun combat, I have that urge to keep playing. Rogue Legacy 2 will easily sit in my top games of this year and possibly be one of the most fun times I’ve had this year.
Dynasty Warriors 9: Empires is an excellent addition to the warriors series. The strategy aspect is fun to engage with and can get quite addicting as your game progresses. I found myself saying, “ok, just one more month of decisions to make; then I’ll save and quit.” only to do another round of strategic decisions. That same brand of fun and fast-paced Warriors combat kept things exciting during battles, and when you combine both gameplays, you can easily put away hours upon hours into it.
I have been having a ball with this game; the new combat has made things much more fluid and exciting, the in-game puzzles are still easy yet thought-inducing, and the excellent new upgrade system and unlocks got me itching to dive back into the game to unlock more and more. The Skywalker Saga was first announced in 2019 and has had a delay or two to get to this point, including an unfortunate crunch cycle that the devs have had to deal with. But those delays have paid off. The developers at TT Games have crafted a top-tier LEGO title full of polish and one that has gotten its hooks in me all over again.
Even though Grapple Dog is just one 2D platformer in a sea of them, I believe this can be your one diamond in the rough. It’s a game that feels responsive and is relatively easy for anyone to pick up and play. It isn’t a cakewalk, though, and you will find challenges ahead, but at the same time, you’re going to soak up the bright colors and the fun story, placing this near the top of your lists.
All-in-all, I had a blast with Pupperazi; it has a welcoming and fun charm to it, it’s creative, and it asks you to be creative. It’s only $20 so it’s well worth the price to admission, in fact on Xbox it’ll be a part of Gamepass so if you’re a subscriber, there’s no reason not to get your paws wet and dive right in. It’s cliché to say, but Pupperazi is the very essence of “fun for the whole family.” Now, shoot for the moon and em-bark on your own Pupperazi adventure!
Epic Chef’s writing is quite funny, and because of that and its fun cooking gameplay, I’m willing to wave off any serious issues I have with it. Does it mean it’s a perfect experience though, no. But I enjoyed my time with it and think it’s a great game to hop into, especially if you’re into the crafting, farming, or cooking genres.
Overall, the game is quite fun, but the game feels very light with minimal narrative and dating-sim aspects. The bowling is good enough to have you play for a few matches or with other people, but the bowling fun only takes it so far. With that said, at $9.99 it hits that perfect sweet spot where even though it feels light, you’re not breaking the bank. I mean, it’s cheaper than bowling alley pizza and will leave you feeling more satisfied.
The Jackbox Party Pack 8 is a heck of a bundle and honestly one of the strongest they’ve had as a package; it is the most consistent pack Jackbox Games Inc. has created yet. There are hours of fun and hilarity to be had with Party Pack 8, and this game gives no reason why it can’t be in your library of games.
If you’re looking for something chill to play in between the stressful first-person shooters this holiday season, you can’t go wrong with this calm puzzle game, one that doesn’t overstay its welcome either, lasting only a few hours max. At the end of the day, Unpacking unpacks, a captivating story through its use of the stuff we collect in our lives.
It’s hard to recommend NASCAR 21: Ignition in its current form. A $60 price tag doesn’t feel justified for the lack of features in this package. There is hope, though, as the racing is still quite good, the graphics look stunning, and the overall fun of being on track is there. But as with every NASCAR release over the years, that can only take you so far. If there was ever a year to skip a NASCAR title, it’s this one. I do look forward to NASCAR 22 in the hope that Motorsport Games nails it. After seeing and feeling what they provided for racing this year, it’s obvious they have talent over there; it just needs to be a more complete package.